Have you met Magazine Man? I've been reading his blog for a year now, and I'm always amazed by his brilliantly constructed, well-written stories - many serialized, often cliffhangers. He is, perhaps, the only person I've encountered out in the blogosphere who is more accident/incident/illness-prone than I am. His latest tales are of his young son's challenges with a bully and the new-ish Zero Tolerance policies that now govern our grade schools (often to the point of utter ridiculousness.) I felt my blood pressure rising throughout the story so far (you have to go back a few entries to start this one.) If you read it, you'll likely feel the same way.
I was a victim of aggressive bullying in grade school, junior high, and, to a much lesser extent, in high school. It was at its worst in grade school - if I was by myself, two boys would follow me home, taunting me, throwing things at me, and, when they could catch me, striking me repeatedly with a plastic bat. I think it is because of these two foul creatures that I have a vastly low threshold for rude comments, gestures, and actions toward people who don't meet the usual standards of beauty. I stand my ground now, and I take no crap. Wanna talk smack about me? Be prepared to deal with someone who's likely a lot smarter and quick-witted than you are, shmuck!
But bullying left its mark on me. In junior high school, after years of abuse, I finally punched one of my bullies in the mouth. I decked him. I think he just didn't expect it. Seven years of taunting and hitting, and even the most level-headed person can be turned to violence. Reading Magazine Man's entries about his son, trying to look out for a kid who was being bullied... well, it brought it all back just now. I'm forty, and this made me cry because I remember how horrible it was and how my mom fought to get the school administration to care enough to do something. (They didn't.)
A couple of years ago, I was at a happy hour with some folks from work. One of my co-workers mentioned bullying - there had been a schoolyard shooting that day. A guy from another office chuckled and said, "Oh, yeah! I was a total bully in grade school!" He laughed and pointed at me, "You know, back then, Merujo, I *so* would have terrorized you back then. Ha ha ha!"
I walked away. I never spoke to him again. The asshole didn't get it. He just thought it was funny. I feel terribly sorry for the people who have to work for him.
Oh hell, it's Friday night - and a beautiful one at that. No need to get all bummed out. Go forth, people, and enjoy! But when you have a little time, go visit Magazine Man. Tell him I sent you. Spend some time in his archives. There are funny stories, touching stories, freaky stories... Marvel at how incredibly accident-prone he is! "Enjoy" his near-death hallucinations at Disneyworld! Read some of his greatest hits.
It's good reading.